Friday, July 29, 2016


In the winter, I find myself paying more attention to birds, but so far have resisted the full fledged birding bug. In Florida a couple years ago, during my normal pre-trip internet search of outdoor possibilities, I became aware of a bird called Painted Bunting. I tried a time or two to see it at feeders in their state parks, but did not connect. So, when I was looking at the areas near Myrtle Beach State Park, I saw that Huntington Beach State Park has a nature center with feeders that are regularly visited by Painted Buntings. But, when I arrived at Myrtle Beach and checked their web site for opening time, I saw that the nature center had burned to the ground the prior week. I went anyways and arrived before 7 am. There was nothing  left of the nature center or its feeders. So, I roamed around checking the area but no luck. I have the Audubon app on my phone so I checked it and found a recording of its song. After listening several times and reading they like to sing from treetops, I started hearing a couple in the distance. I spent time traipsing through brush, briars and spiderwebs hearing them and finally perched myself in a spot where I had heard one several times and was rewarded by one in a treetop quite a distance away. My 200 mm lens captured it nicely and it did fly once to within 75 feet, but I could not get the long lens to focus that close more than one or two quick shots. Here are several pictures of him and other Grand Strand sights. A bird this nice could push me over the edge, Someone may spot me soon slathered in sunscreen and bugspray, wearing a funny hat and carrying binoculars that cost more than several of my first cars, Just like the guys I saw today at Huntington Beach State Park.

Just Caught A Shrimp

Looks Mad?

MAybe this is why? It says, "No Shellfish Harvesting"

Sunday, July 24, 2016

More Summer Orchids

The days are getting shorter already but there are many wildflowers yet to see. For this post, I had only to walk down the road to a neighbors wet field to see Purple Fringless Orchids and around my home for Yellow Fringed and Rattlesnake Orchids.

The Purple Fringless Orchids are a variety of colors. Typically, they are bubblegum pink, but as shown here, there are many shades, even a white.
This first one, and several like it were pink with whitish lower parts.

The white is my favorite; the flower looks like miniature ghosts. There were a couple white ones in previous years, but I only found one this year. The field is waist deep in grass and other plants, but fortunately, had not been cut for hay this year .

Yellow Fringed Orchid

Rattlesnake Orchid 

Cloud formation puts you in mind of the Cross

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Pale and Frilly

You have to love mid-July
WV temperatures in the 50's
I had an opportunity to spend a cool morning at
The Cranberry Glades Botanical Area  this week and 
had a blast. Many wildflowers were in bloom including orchids. 
My favorite of the day had to be Shriver‟s Frilly Orchid or
Pale Frilly Orchid ( Platanthera shriveri). This Orchid has been know since the early 1990's but just has recently been accepted as a new orchid.
Read that story here.

That article points out the traits of this orchid and the differences between it and Purple Fringed Orchid. The key traits are deeply fringed petals,  lateral petals that exceed the dorsal sepal giving it a rabbit ear appearance and a notably later bloom time in the same area as Purple Fringed Orchid.
Pale Frilly Orchid ( Platanthera shriveri) 
Pale Frilly Orchid ( Platanthera shriveri) 

Pale Frilly Orchid ( Platanthera shriveri)

Pale Frilly Orchid ( Platanthera shriveri)

Pale Frilly Orchid ( Platanthera shriveri)

Purple Fringed Orchids were fading and rarer this year, but here is one nice one along a roadside. 
Purple Fringed Orchid

Purple Fringed Orchid

Comparison between flowers; notice deepness of fringe on Pale Frilly and the hooded, lateral petals and the dorsal sepal of the Purple Fringed Orchid vs. the Rabbit ear appearance of the Pale Frilly.
Pale Frilly Orchid ( Platanthera shriveri)
Purple Fringed Orchid

I did find other Orchids and Flowers
Rose Pogonia 

Rose Pogonia

Grass Pink 

Grass Pink

 Plus three new flowers for my attempt to find and photograph as many West Virginia wildflowers as possible
#345- Oswego Tea (Monarda didyma)
#346- Cotton Grass (Eriophorum virginicum)
# 347- Allegheny BrookfoamBoykinia aconitifolia 

Sundew- A carnivorous plant 

Monday, June 20, 2016

June Orchids

On this first day of summer, when we begin the long, slow trek to winter, I am showing some old orchid friends that I visited in June.

I visited a population of Showy Lady Slippers during the first week of June. I hiked up in a thunderstorm but it was well worth it.

Then in mid June, I visited the population of Appalachian Twayblades near my home. I thought I would be able to find some not quite as deep in the Rhododendron Hell that I struggled through the last time. (See this Link)

This one had a pollinia attached to its petal that was dropped by a potential pollinator

Loesel's Twayblade 
I was also watching a  Loesel's Twayblade, but it was cut by an unknow insect just as it was in full bloom. I did get a decent picture.

This happened also to another orchid that I have not positively identified. It looks like the large pad leaf orchid in my area but with more oval leaves and waxy, heavy looking flowers. I saw it several years ago and did not get a picture and it had a nice spike this year but was cut off clean..

 Part of a huge patch of Blue Eyed Grass that I can see the blue color of from
a couple hundred yards 

Beautiful Florida Flower

Thursday, May 12, 2016

May 2016 Last of the Ephemerals

#344 - Pawpaw
Various wanderings around Raleigh County WV in late spring has reveled a new wildflower for this blog and some old friends.
Yellow Lady Slipper with two blooms

Pink Lady Slipper

Painted Trillium

Painted Trillium